|Updated: 18-May-2005||NATO Update|
African Union President visits NATO
Mr. Alpha Oumar Konaré, the Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union, visited NATO HQ on 17 May to discuss possible Alliance support for the African Union’s peacekeeping operation in Darfur.
He met for talks with NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer and addressed the North Atlantic Council, the Alliance’s principal decision-making body.
African Union in the lead
Mr. Konaré outlined the current situation in Darfur, the African Union’s plans for strengthening its peacekeeping operation in the region and the support the Union would require.
The visit was a follow-up to a letter sent by Mr. Konaré to the Secretary General on 26 April, suggesting discussions on the possibility of NATO providing logistical support to the African Union’s peacekeeping operation in Darfur.
NATO has agreed to open exploratory talks, and the NATO Council will now discuss Mr. Konaré’s request, to see what support the Alliance could provide. NATO will also engage in close co-ordination with the European Union and the United Nations.
The support Mr. Konaré requested included transport, training and communications.
“It is the African Union which is leading this mission,” the Secretary General told reporters at a joint press point with President Konaré, “It is the African Union which asked for our support.”
The Secretary General was also invited by President Konaré to attend talks on international support for the African Union’s operation in Darfur in Addis Ababa on 26 May.
This was the first visit by a senior official of the African Union to NATO.